Disinformation is becoming one of the most significant security threats today.
Reliable information is extremely important for all security topics. When it comes to dealing with crisis situations, it is often said that the three most important activities are: 1. Planning and preparation, 2. Equipping and securing the conditions for protection, and 3. Truthful and credible information about the situation.
At first glance, it is easier today to obtain detailed data on any topic than ever before. However, the flood of fake news, intentional or accidental errors in the transmission of information, large amounts of half-truths and lies, which are present in all areas, has spread so much that it is necessary to invest a lot of effort, time, resources, and often the latest technology, to get to the real truth.
Special warfare methods and techniques (terms such as hybrid, cyber, and psychological warfare) are increasingly present in the public space, used today to create false images in the public that are sometimes needed by frequently mentioned but rarely defined “centers of power”. However, due to the availability of modern technology that has enabled mass communication at low cost, sometimes there are banal reasons for disinformations, in some cases groups and individuals hungry for power or achieving some low-minded daily goals, but it is often just – plain human stupidity.
The problem is that it is not always easy to determine the true background of the information we receive, so various computer tools, software, artificial intelligence, and entire professional organizations for fact-checking are increasingly being used. Of course, after checking the credibility, the organizations that perform the media content check are under attack, accused of manipulation, and the story revolves in a cycle of eternal mutual accusations.
A special problem is the occurrence of false information in extraordinary situations such as the appearance of new infectious diseases when multiple verified scientific information is not yet available, or even experts themselves disagree on ways to solve the problem. Everyone is shouting “Fake news!” at each other. This is enough for confusing and contradictory information to accumulate in the public, and people do not know who to believe.
Recent analyses of communication experts speak of the phenomenon of an “infodemic” (a term derived from the words information and epidemic), which is today also described as the occurrence of spreading of dangerous disinformation that can have serious consequences for the health and even existence of people.
Given the seriousness of the situation, more and more scientists are being included in the analysis of credibility, speaking about types of information disorders, the differences between intentional disinformation, unintentional misinformation, and malevolent misinformation with the intention of causing harm. The most well-known cases that are still the subject of analysis today include the Brexit campaign for the UK’s exit from the EU, presidential elections and manipulations that led to the insurrection and breach of the US Congress, as well as misinformation about the pandemic, and no less the current aggression against Ukraine, in which a wide-ranging intelligence global war is being fought with information and disinformation alongside military conflicts.
However, no matter how serious the topics on safety portals may be, it is important to maintain a positive attitude and not allow saturation with negative information, fear, and constant worry, because this can also have (and already has) negative consequences on the quality of life, but also on an appropriate response in situations where a “cool head” is needed.
Therefore, this is not about a “crime chronicle” with exclusively bad news, but rather the opposite – an attempt to objectively inform and calm people, but also to teach them to think calmly and make the right decisions in critical situations, even when it is not easy to mantain self-control.
It is especially important not to scare children and young people, and to present all conversations about negative topics in the right way through play and entertainment, as well as tailored to their age, so we are preparing appropriate content for them. Until then, try to carefully check every piece of information related to your safety.